To understand the risks, one must first understand what Asbestos is and what it does. Asbestos is actually a commercial name, meaning that it isn’t a mineralogical definition. It refers to six naturally occurring minerals that possess high tensile strength, flexibility, resistance to chemical and thermal degradation, and electrical resistance. For decades, these minerals have been used in commercial products like insulation and fireproofing minerals. When it is handled is when it can become a problem and pose risks to those doing the handling. Handling it causes it to separate into microscopic-size particles that remain in the air and are easily inhaled. The problem comes when inhaled, because this can lead to lung cancer and mesothelioma. It has been documented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that, every day, as many as 1.3 million people in the U.S. go to a workplace where they’re exposed to significant amounts of asbestos.
Some Jobs Have a Higher Risk of Asbestos Exposure.
Asbestos is quite common and even necessary in many lines of work, despite
all risks. There are some occupations and industries that have seen workers
exposed to higher levels of asbestos such as construction, shipbuilding,
paper mills, mining, heating, automotive repair, and more.
What comes with this is an employee’s rights to protection from exposure. If somebody works with or around significant amounts of asbestos as part of a job, it is vital to talk to a supervisor or union about the health risks and steps taken to minimize those risks. The OHSA is supposed to carefully regulate and monitor asbestos exposure, even going as far as to set permissible exposure limits for different kinds of industries. Chances are, if your job does involve at least some exposure, the employer is then legally required to take certain steps to protect you and your coworkers from health risks. They may offer protections such as training of employees who will be working with the asbestos, warning signs and instructions in areas where this work is performed, protective clothing, showers and other post-exposure precautions, medical examinations to those exposed, and more. These safety measures are typically covered by OSHA regulations.
When Lawsuits Come Into Play
- Who is legally responsible? If an employee or former employee suffers from health problems that are cased by asbestos in the workplace, a lawsuit would be filed against people such as the company that manufactured the asbestos, owners of the premises where the work was being performed, or contractors involved in the work being performed.
- How can I go about finding a lawyer? If you think that you may have developed some type of asbestos-related illness or are concerned because you have been exposed to asbestos on the job, then you may want to speak to an experienced attorney. At WTW, we will be able to assess your case and get you the compensation that you need. Asbestos victim compensation funds may already be in place in some cases. At the very least, an attorney may be able to aid you in being able to get health monitoring and testing, which can lead to early detection and treatment.